Utah Launches New Aerospace Association Chapter

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's aerospace industry is among the fastest growing sectors in the local economy, according to the Governor's Office of Economic Development. On Friday, the state launched its latest effort to expand aerospace and connect it to other important economic sectors.

At an event at the state Capitol, Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, along with Utah aerospace industry partners and the economic development office, announced the newly formed Utah chapter of the Aerospace States Association — which advocates for state-based initiatives that strengthen U.S. leadership in aviation and space. The association is a nonpartisan organization made up of associate members of the aerospace industry, lieutenant governors and governor-appointed delegates, said Cox — who will lead the local chapter.

“Utah’s new ASA chapter formalizes our continued dedication to the aerospace industry,” Cox said. “Our state works extremely well with industry partners, and establishing this platform will further the positive impact of our public-private collaboration.”

Last year, industry leaders formed a partnership with the government and education leaders to address a critical need for skilled workers, Cox said. The partnership ultimately launched the Utah Aerospace Pathways program, which allows high school students to graduate with a certificate in aerospace manufacturing, he noted.

Such programs can become the foundation needed to develop a strong pipeline of qualified workers to move into the high-tech workforce of tomorrow, he added.

"This is really about partnerships with the aerospace industry and our education professionals," Cox said.

“The Utah Aerospace Pathways program has become a model that other industries can replicate to meet their own workforce development goals,” said Val Hale, executive director of the Governor's Office of Economic Development. “This is a perfect example of states finding creative solutions to complex problems.”

At Friday’s event, L-3, IMSAR and SilverHawk Aerial Imaging conducted live demonstrations of manned and unmanned aerial systems — commomly known as drones — in various locations across the state, while several industry partners also sponsored exhibits in the Capitol rotunda highlighting the state’s aerospace resources.

By joining the association, Utah benefits from additional representation in federal aerospace and aviation policy development as well as collaboration with other member states, Hale explained. The organization advocates for issues that align with top priorities in Utah’s aerospace industry, including research and design funding, workforce training, economic development in aerospace and aviation, excellence in science, technology, engineering and math education, as well as keeping states competitive in the global marketplace, he added.

"The (chapter) gives a forum for all our aerospace companies to come together and discuss important issues," Hale said.

Aerospace & Defense
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Deseret News Wed, 03/02/2016 - 15:45